Special Needs Transportation

State Supreme Court asked to review special-needs bus case

Posted on September 14, 2009

LONGMONT, Colo. — The St. Vrain Valley School District recently asked the state Supreme Court to review a case wherein one of its school bus drivers is accused of slapping a special-needs student during an incident that occurred in March 2005.

In the school district’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it, attorneys said that Devin Kansgen grabbed bus driver Jeaneen Steward’s breast as she secured his wheelchair in a school bus, The Longmont Times-Call reported.

“Ms. Steward verbally warned (Devin) that such conduct was not acceptable when he first touched her; however, (he) immediately repeated the inappropriate touching, at which time, Ms. Steward defended herself by brushing (Devin’s) hand away from her body,” the motion stated.

The newspaper reported that the student’s mother witnessed the incident and acknowledged that he had pinched Steward. Steward testified in November 2006 that she slapped the student’s hands while releasing the wheelchair.

If the state Supreme Court accepts the case, it must determine whether the school district can be held responsible for Steward’s actions. Colorado law allows people to sue government if they are injured “as a result of and pursuant to the operation of a motor vehicle,” according to The Longmont Times-Call.

The Kansgens’ attorney argued that because securing the wheelchair was integral to Steward’s job, her slapping him was part of her job. The school district’s attorneys disagreed, saying that operating the bus did not cause the altercation, which could have happened anywhere.

 

Related Topics: legal issues

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